Spring Break Visit to Georgia Includes Pair of Ranked Foes for No. 23 Bulldogs

Annie Sullivan. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Annie Sullivan. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Yale on Seven-Match Winning Streak

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The No. 23 Yale women's tennis team has gone south for spring break, as the Bulldogs will play a trio of games in Georgia. After opening at Georgia State on Sunday, the team plays a pair of ranked opponents: at No. 11 Georgia on Mar. 16 and vs. No. 57 Purdue in a neutral site match in Atlanta on Mar. 17.

Having achieved the highest ranking in school history at No. 23, Yale (10-2, 0-0 Ivy League) is coming off a decisive victory over Army this past Wednesday that extended the Bulldogs' winning streak to seven matches. The Bulldogs did not drop a set, sweeping all three doubles matches and all six singles matches. Since a 6-1 loss at Vanderbilt (currently ranked No. 8), the Bulldogs have beaten their seven opponents 42-6.

During that seven-match span Yale has won the doubles point six times, and several players have strung together impressive streaks in singles. Senior captain Stevi Petrelli (Harrison, N.Y.) has won eight in a row, primarily at No. 5 singles. Sophomore No. 88 Elizabeth Epstein (Chicago, Ill.) and freshman Annie Sullivan (Deerfield, Ill.) have each won seven in a row, Epstein at No. 2 and Sullivan primarily at No. 6.

This is the first meeting in history between Yale and Georgia State (9-0, 1-0 CAA). The Panthers are in the midst of a nine-match winning streak that is the longest in school history. That includes a 4-3 win on Feb. 19 over the lone opponent Yale and Georgia State have in common so far this spring, East Tennessee State. The Bulldogs beat the Buccaneers 7-0 on Feb. 13. Kir Kemp and Tereza Lerova are ranked No. 66 in doubles for the Panthers.

Georgia (5-1, 2-0 SEC) is the team Yale faced three years ago in Yale's first NCAA tournament appearance in school history. Georgia won that match 4-0, though there were some highlights for Yale. Senior Lindsay Clark (Bernardsville, N.J.) was part of a doubles team at No. 2 that pushed Georgia's team to 7-7 before that match ended because Yale lost the other two doubles matches. Petrelli lost a close 7-5 first set and was tied 2-2 in the second set at No. 6 singles before her match ended because Georgia clinched the win.

Georgia has games against Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Butler before playing Yale next Wednesday. Georgia has four ranked players in singles. No. 48 Chelsey Gullickson, the NCAA singles champion last year and a two-time All-American in both singles and doubles, plays at No. 1. No. 59 Nadja Gilchrist, an All-American in doubles last year, plays at No. 3. No. 72 Maho Kowase plays primarily at No. 2 and No. 90 Cameron Ellis plays primarily at No. 5. Gullickson and Katie Fuller are ranked No. 25 in doubles, and Gilchrist and Lily Kimbell are No. 37.

Purdue (6-3, 0-0 Big Ten) has dropped two in a row, including a 5-2 loss at Yale's Ivy League rival Harvard on Feb. 27. The Boilermakers host No. 47 Indiana on Saturday before heading south to play the Bulldogs. Purdue features the No. 18 doubles team in the country in Jennifer Rabot and Mara Schmidt. The Boilermakers have won the doubles point in seven of nine matches so far.

After the trip south Yale returns to Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center, where the Bulldogs are undefeated, for a pair of matches on Mar. 27 vs. Quinnipiac and Fairleigh Dickinson. Yale is hosting a food and clothing drive on that day. Admission is free and fans are asked to bring food or clothing to support Connecticut Food Bank and Stepping Stone Emergency Housing.

 Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity